Would have the fate of Westeros been entirely different if they have had elections, and a fierce Commission to manage them since the beginning? Most probably so!
However, for the people of the Seven Kingdoms the right to choose came just in time; before we all say our goodbyes.
Even if you were never a devoted fan of the Game of Thrones show, or you believe there is no a possible connection between the famed TV series and an election agency, we invite you to join us in this exciting creative exercise.
Extrapolating the medieval fantasy drama to a more contemporary democratic scene might turn on your cognitive alarms on how far we can go to analyze the popular show. But do not despair. Beyond the magic, dragons, dynastic conflicts, political intrigues, and epic tragedy, there is much to learn about leadership, advisors and mediators, negotiation skills, and people’s struggles.
Let us then indulge ourselves in the nostalgia for the show finale and extract some simple, yet powerful, lessons for Election Management Bodies around the globe. The first one and most important one being: The right to vote is worth to fight for. “Why just us? We represent all the great houses, but whoever we choose won’t just rule over lords and ladies. Maybe who we choose should be chosen by everyone.” – Samwell Tarly to the Great House representatives.
- Negotiation between rulers needs independent expert consultants. “Night gathers, and now my watch begins. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory.” — Oath of the Night’s Watch
- Check and balances should be a top priority for government sustainability. “Most men would rather deny a hard truth than face it.” — Tyrion Lannister
- Leaders need to listen to the people whom they represent. “Power resides where men believe it resides. No more and no less. It’s a trick, a shadow on the wall.” — Lord Varys
- Reinforce the stability and legitimacy of the political community. “We all must choose, man or woman, young or old, lord or peasant, our choices are the same. We choose light, or we choose darkness. We choose good, or we choose evil.”— Melisandre of Asshai
- Do not forget the needs of people living overseas. “Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.” – Tyrion Lannister
- Determination of policies without coordinated implementation is useless. “But freedom means making your own choices.” — Daenerys Targaryen
- Responsibility always comes with corresponding authority. “A king who runs will not be king for long.” — Tywin Lannister
- Pay close attention to how many people follow the leaders, who they are, and what they expect collectively as well as individuals. Information and validation are critical. “What we don’t know is what usually gets us killed.” — Petyr Baelish
- People should be free and ready to hold their leaders accountable for their performance. “No matter who you are, no matter how strong you are, sooner or later, you’ll face circumstances beyond your control.” – Cersei Lannister
- It is critical to understand how to solve the problem of succession in leadership. “This one’s on top, then that one’s on top, and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground.” — Daenerys Targaryen
- It is not easy, yet it is fundamental to facilitate social and political integration. “No one can survive in this world without help. No one.” – Jorah Mormont
- When possible, honor the ritualistic aspect of elections. Stakeholders with diverse objectives might invoke nationalism or patriotism, reform or revolution, past glory, or future promise. Be as neutral and just as your responsibilities demand. “There is no creature on earth half so terrifying as a truly just man.” — Lord Varys
If you belong to the global GOT fandom, and you are still feeling nostalgic for the end of an era, do not hesitate to share your thoughts, as well as favorite lessons learned. It is not every day that a fantasy epic TV series brings together multidisciplinary experts and followers to discuss challenges in the art of politics, governing, and leadership.